Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Winter storm wrap-up from Faribault February 23, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 3:18 PM
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I shot this photo through a partially-frosted upstairs window as Randy began clearing snow from the driveway near the garage. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo February 2023)

THURSDAY MORNING, 10:30 a.m. AND SNOW is still falling here in Faribault. But the sun is breaking through and I am hopeful the snow will soon end. The unofficial yardstick reading on our patio is 14 inches from this three-day weather event.

The city snow plow arrives about the same time Randy finishes clearing the driveway, leaving a new ridge of snow. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo February 2023)

Randy is blowing the driveway open as I write. Just as he nearly finished clearing the end, the city plow arrived, blading a windrow of snow back across the driveway. Timing. Now he’s working on removing that ridge. This is not unexpected; we Minnesotans assume this will always happen.

I caught the exact moment one brother dropped snow on the other. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo February 2023)

Neighbors have emerged, too, blowing snow from sidewalks and drives. Across the street, neighbor boys are outside playing. I watched as one scooped snow onto his shovel, waited and then promptly dumped the load onto his brother’s head. Nearby, Dad continued working the snowblower.

A snowy scene in my neighborhood mid-morning Thursday when snow was still falling at a steady pace. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo February 2023)

This is a snow day for Minnesota kids. E-learning and distance learning or maybe no learning at all.

A young family walks their dog late Thursday morning along the snow-banked city street past our driveway. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo February 2023)

A mom and her two little ones are out walking the dog.

Bent into the task of blowing snow, a neighbor is framed through the window in my front door. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo February 2023)

Businesses and public places—the arts center, the library, the mall, the shoe store—are either closed or opening late. People seem to be heeding the warnings to stay home and off roadways. Even Randy is staying home from work today.

The city plow blades snow from the intersection toward the boulevard in front of our house. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo February 2023)

Traffic, mostly non-existent earlier, is picking up along our main arterial street. Mostly snowplows and pick-up trucks pulling trailers loaded with snow removal equipment.

Randy guides the snowblower down the sidewalk past our house and our neighbor’s house. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo February 2023)

In the extreme southwestern corner of Minnesota, my native prairie, a portion of Interstate 90 remains closed along with many state highways. Wind whips this light snow, creating whiteout conditions, snowdrifts feet high and impassable roads. The National Guard is standing by to launch roadside rescues if needed.

A neighbor clears the end of his driveway. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo February 2023)

As snowstorms go, I’ve experienced much worse, especially as a Redwood County farm kid. I respect winter in Minnesota, understand the dangers when a major storm descends. And today, although this storm was not quite the historic storm predicted, I’m good with that. With some 14 inches of total snowfall, that’s enough for me, and Randy.

Another snow removal tool, a scoop shovel stuck here in the snow next to the sidewalk. We use it to clear our front steps. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo February 2023)

TELL ME: If you live in Minnesota, how much snow did you get? If you live elsewhere, are you experiencing any bad weather? I’d like to hear your stories.

© Copyright 2023 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


26 Responses to “Winter storm wrap-up from Faribault”

  1. We have been warm and mild this winter – almost no snow at all!
    14 inches is enough! Clearing all that sounds like hefty work!

  2. Lynn Flesch Says:

    Love the winter pics

  3. beth Says:

    Glad you are seeing all that goes on during and after a big snow. It’s amazing how people are so resilient and most everyone pitches in. The children enjoy the snow and extra time off of school and it all gives a sense of community, even in challenging circumstances. Life slowly returns to normal over time, bit by bit, and everyone hopes that everyone else has basic needs met. There’s a lot of heart in that.

  4. In 1993, we’d just relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee for work when (per the NWS) the “storm of the century” struck the southeast and eastern U.S. – 2 to 3 inches per hour for a total of 56 inches where we were. Unlike Minnesota, Tennessee had little experience with lots of snow, much less this much. Our power was out for 3 days and it was days before the roads were cleared. We volunteered our chained 4×4 truck to drive people to services they needed. We’ve encountered other weather stuff since but this still ranks as the high (or low) point of our storm experiences. Your pictures of Randy remind me that I have to go shovel snow off the patio…

  5. Charles Ziegler Says:

    I’m glad you and Randy appear to have weathered the storm. We rarely get 14 inches of snow in Fredericksburg, Virginia where I live. Today is, believe it or not, 82f. Tomorrow it will go down to a high of about 59f. As I’ve mentioned in previous notes to you, my Father’s family lives in Redwood County so I appreciate your references to it.

  6. Sandra Says:

    As “events” go, wasn’t bad here as the earlier one, mostly due to fluffy snow vs. wet/heavy. We also didn’t get 14, but guessing 10+. I shoveled some through the night, as is my practice. It accomplished closing everything important, but church went on, including a choir of 30 (vs. twice that). Many did cancel or online only, I see Trinity held service, even with an interim pastor. Now if our plows come yet today, we’ll be good. Been a long few days, for sure! I am glad for the extra parking opened up in the cities, plowing out the neighborhoods took forever the last time. (Glad Randy has found more employment, his skills are needed.) Now if this transmits, my “down” has been internet service – a disaster!

    • Good to hear all is well in your metro neighborhood. I thought the plan to open parking lots to get vehicles off the streets was brilliant. And, yes, church services went on, although we were not in attendance. I’m thankful for technology which allows for attendance. I’m sorry about your disastrous internet service.

  7. Brenda B Says:

    As weird as it sounds, I see everyone’s photos back home of this big snow event and I feel like I totally missed out! Especially when here in Connecticut we’ve had a mostly snowless winter and 40s and 50s a lot. My Minnesota roots need to be buried in snow on occasion! Save some for me, I’ll be home next month!

  8. 14 is no joke for removal! Had to laugh at the picture of the boys, remembering my boys doing the same after a snowfall. Good memories are made from such storms.😊❄️

  9. Glad your snow is over for this storm. It is pretty until you have to move it. Glad you have a snowblower —- it would be nearly impossible on a corner lot without one!

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